Monday

Saturday Afternoon: “In Which I Amy Attends a Family Corn Roast”

At 12:30 pm, Barbara says to me, “Call Grammy and see if the corn roast is today.”

I call. “Hi Grammy, I’m just wondering if the cookout is today.”

“Well, yes,” she says, “People will be getting here around two o’clock but we won’t start eating until three. You’re coming aren’t you?”

“Of course.” Crap! TWO O’CLOCK?

“And Barbara and Jason?” she asks.

“Yup. You want me to bring anything? A pasta salad?”

My grandmother sighs. “Oh… you don’t have to.”

“It’s no trouble,” I say even though there’s nothing in the house to make a proper pasta salad with.

“Well, if it’s no trouble.”

I hang up and jump into my car. Gotta go to the store, buy stuff for pasta salad, go home, chop up vegetables, cook pasta, mix it all together, take shower. Stupid Barbara! Grammy called her, like, three weeks ago about this cookout. She should have remembered when it was.

We make it up there by 2:45 pm. Not bad, really. We drive past my grandmother’s farm house and up to the field where a large tent has been erected. I put my beer into a cooler but before I have time to crack one open, my Uncle Ronnie pulls up next to me on his new 4-wheeler.

“Hey,” he yells over the roar of the motor, “you wanna go for a ride?”

“I gotta go pee,” I shout back. “Can you take me back down to the house?”

“Sure.”

I hop on behind him. After I take care of my business in the house and go back outside, Ronnie points at a steep mountain.

“You ever been up there?” he asks me.

“Uh… no,” I say, knowing exactly where this is leading.

“You wanna go?”

“Sure.” I hop back on and we take off. We speed down the driveway, around the back of the pasture, along a muddy, bumpy dirt path barely wide enough for the 4-wheeler. Then, UP.

I’m holding onto the metal bars behind me but I still don’t really feel secure. I envision us going over a particularly bad bump, which will cause my legs will go flying up and over my head. Then I’ll either: (a) land upside-down on my head, breaking my neck, or (b) complete the rotation and land face down in the mud. What a poor, poor idea it was to wear white linen pants.

We eventually make it to a level area that Ronnie had cleared a couple years back. All this land, my grandmother owns. Right now she has 100 acres but Ronnie’s going to buy some of it off her. He wants to build a camp up here. It would be the perfect spot, overlooking Macintosh Pond, the surrounding mountains and way, way, way off, you can see the ski slopes of Killington 20 miles away. Amazing.

I say all this to Ronnie. He nods and says, “I’m gonna go pee,” and runs off into the woods.

We head back down the mountain, which I think will be easier but only scares me more. I didn’t notice we were climbing a 70 degree incline but it’s much more apparent on the way down. Finally, we make it back up to the field. I thank my uncle Ronnie and head for the beer cooler.

The rest of the afternoon was spent eating, playing Frisbee and shootin’ the shit. My cousin Kathy was telling me how Dakota, her 12-year-old son, shot a turkey this past spring and just got a moose license for this fall. I wouldn’t put it past Dakota to get a moose on his first year. Apparently, he’s a really good shot. Kathy and Alan take him down to the shooting range to shoot alongside some pretty high rollers. He got so good at shooting single clay pigeons that he shoots doubles now- and gets them. I would like to reiterate that this kid is 12-years-old. They’re going to start entering him in state championships. And what’s best of all is that he’s the nicest kid in the world.

It’s always fun hanging out with the Stenders. They do funny things, like, Alan was giving Dakota a ride in the 4-wheeler. That’s not the funny part. That funny part was when he drove straight toward me but turned at the last possible moment. Ha ha, funny things like that. Barbara and I get the worst of it because we’re the only Stender girls. When I leave these family gatherings, I know how a tormented cat must feel.

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